Has it been two full months since my last blog? How embarrassing. I must have amassed something worth posting. Let's get right to the Top 10...
1. The US Women's Open bowling tournament is going on right now. Other than the fact that there are precious few tournaments for elite women bowlers, the neat part about this is that the Finals will be held on Wednesday, June 26th (and shown on ESPN on July 3) on specially constructed lanes under the Reno arch. Here's the artist rendering...
2. The more food shows and competitions that I watch, the more we experiment with internet recipes. At the beginning, I was beating my wife 2 to 0. This pork chop dish was great, a baked chicken breast - (no recipe on line, but marinate the breasts in sour cream, lemon juice and spices overnight, then roll in crushed Club crackers and bake) was also a hit.
My-Sugar-Na, swung and missed (badly... sorry, honey) with Campbell's... first on this horrible barbecue chicken, and then with an equally awful chicken tetrazzini. She did bring the score to 2-1 with this delightful Betty Crocker Pecan Chicken and Gravy. I aim to take increase the lead with this recipe for blackberry ribs - from the Wall Street Journal, of all places.
3. It is Monday night, it is 63 degrees (according to the Weather Channel) and it feels like 48 degrees in the house. I am wearing a sweat shirt and pajama pants.
I've decided to skip Summerfest on Wednesday because of the forecast temperatures. KC and Kool & the Gang will have to go on without us.
4. Every couple of years, I torture myself with summertime weather. In 2010, My-Sugar-Na and I survived three days of 100+ temps in Manhattan, and a couple months later wilted at the Iowa State Fair with temps in the mid 90s.
In the past two weeks, I have been to four Brewers games, all with temps over 90 degrees... including two while sitting in the sunlight. At least I had good seats for yesterday's Brewers game in Chicago.
And the funny part is that it was about 75 in Milwaukee yesterday, while it got as hot as 94 (in the sun, natch) in Chicago.
5. Speaking of the Brewers, I think there is some post-playoffs hangover. The Brewers are not lousy because Prince Fielder went to the Tigers. They are lousy because the stars aren't hitting (Weeks averaging .180 and Hart about .245), the replacement parts (Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez) got hurt and their punch-and-judy replacements (Travis Ishikawa and Cesar Izturis) did, too. The problem is that the farm system is barren due to the CC Sabathia, Shawn Marcum and Zack Greinke trades, and the young kids that they did call up (Tyler Green and Martin Maldonado) can't hit either.
But with all those offensive deficiencies, they are right in the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored. The real issue is that they are giving up way more runs than they score. They are lousy because their entire bullpen is woefully underperforming their career norms. Jose Veras can't control his curveball. Jose Perez couldn't get any lefties out. Manny Parra has a million dollar arm and a 10-cent head. Both Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford allow way, way, WAY too many base runners for their spots in the bullpen. And as long as the best options in the minors are Perez, Mike McClendon, Vinnie Chulk and the 47 year old Livan Hernandez ...
6. Remember the summer of 2009 when Milwaukee was in risk of losing all three of the professional golf, indoor soccer and auto racing? Two of the three are still alive, but not quite thriving. The Wave won their second consecutive league title in March, and the Milwaukee Mile was humming last week. But the Wave is still looking for more investors, and the Mile could use a few more sold tickets, too. Thankfully, though, both indoor soccer and auto racing are still around.
I am sure the Milwaukee Mustangs could use a few more fans, too.
7. In the almost long-forgotten days prior to 2007, my wife had a brown Doberman. That dog was plug and play. Feed it, walk it, go to bed, repeat. As Brownie was getting older, My-Sugar-Na foisted Vier Pogo Squad 51 on me. He is 13 pounds of constant energy.
What is he thinking here?
(a) What are you eating, and why don't I have any?
(b) I've also noticed that you stopped petting me.
(c) I hear other doggies barking, therefore, I must bark, too.
One additional bit of upkeep... the quarterly $65 spa appointments. How does he look?
8. I don't know why, but we can't stop watching that train wreck that is Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. This isn't a real TV show... they cast 18 contestants (only about 2 or 3 have any talent) vying to win the contest to claim a job that almost no "winner" ever takes. But we didn't watch it today. My-Sugar-Na, who is being egged on by her Essential Coach, had her third bowling lesson this evening.
She doesn't have a very high average, but when we went to Baton Rouge for me to bowl the USBC Open Championships in February, we bowled a doubles tournament and she did, well, less than stellar. Although I know that bowling on a national stage is very tough (I did have a 126 game this year... 90 pinss under average) she was embarrassed enough to start taking lessons.
Her Essential Coach says that his goal is to get her to beat me in a game without handicap; ain't never gonna happen. But she is getting better... her summer league average is about 20 pins over where she ended her winter league.
9. Many of my regular readers (if I have any left after not blogging for so long) know that I love to gamble, whether at a friendly poker game, in Las Vegas, Reno or any other place our travels will take us.
Unfortunately, I've hit a gambling slump. It started last October in Las Vegas, and other than a few go-'rounds playing poker, I've lost just about every time out (Side note; Save for a couple of weeks ago at Potawatomi. We had a dinner comp and a $10 match play, and not a lot of money to gamble. I went to a favorite slot machine, punched in my code and on the first spin I hit for $110... without risking a penny!)
But that C-note doesn't even come close to some of the hits over the last nine months. I've even tried taking some time off (remember, dice nor cards have memories. The last roll or hand played does not affect the outcome of the next hand). So last Friday, My-Sugar-Na and I treated ourselves. In about 90 minutes, she made over $50. Me? Well, there is no truth to the rumor that this is actually me.
10. (Deleted. #10 wasn't even good enough to be Top 20. So I pass on #10, but instead you get a bonus item. I screw up and you get the perk. Very benevolent of me, eh?)
BONUS. It is starting to sink in more and more that there will be no State Fair parking - and most importatnly, no State Fair blogging - this year. Very few people want to park 1-1/2 miles from the Fair and walk from there. I suppose they could take the bus from 84th & Lincoln, but I am thinking not. Don't get me wrong, I am paying less monthly in this house than I did last year, so the most I ever cleared parking cars (about $760) has been made many times over. But I will miss it. I will miss the anticipation, the buzz of the Fairgoers, seeing the kids that are thrilled to arrive but then wilted upon return.
Look at it this way... less time taken to park cars will give MORE time for grilling!